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The CDP Stand on National Issues
Pollution of the Kafue Water Supply by KCM- The CDP Press Release
The Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) Must be Strengthened
The most recent pollution incident [in Chingola] involving Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) polluting the Kafue River, has once again
given the nation both cause and opportunity to critically look at the Environmental Council of Zambia’s statutory mission to protect
not only our environment, but our citizens from pollution and its consequences thereof. This most recent occurrence is not an
isolated issue. There is a pattern of behavior where time and time again, various companies have willingly abused our
environment, (and thus by default our citizens) with laughable consequences. Indeed we are looking at a much bigger problem
than this one incident that will only be addressed by strengthening and expanding the role of the Environmental Council of
Zambia. Our country needs to progress, and environmental protection is a critical part of our nation’s overall progress.
With the ever-increasing growth of the extractive industry, ECZ cannot and should not remain a toothless watchdog as it currently
exists. We are not witnessing this type of event that has polluted our water supply for the first time- it has happened before and the
consequences for the offenders have been no more than the proverbial slap on the wrist. It is clear that in its present form, the ECZ
Act has lamentably failed in its role to act as a deterrent to offenders. World over, tackling environmental issues have become a top
priority in the business of governance, and Zambia cannot afford to idly witness the degradation of our environment due to its
direct impact on our citizenry. This incident alone when translated monetarily will be found to be a colossal loss when the various
factors ranging from health, to local businesses being negatively affected as a result of the same pollution.
As the Citizens Democratic Party, we insist that the Environmental Council of Zambia’s authority be expressed through action
rather than mere observance. ECZ must be [by law] empowered to effect more impromptu inspections of industries, and ECZ must
impose not just hefty fines, but criminal proceedings where offenders show a reckless attitude towards our environment. ECZ
must be positioned to be in tune with the rest of the progressive world’s attitude towards the importance of protecting our
environment. It is the poor and yet overwhelming majority of our citizens who are already getting a raw deal from the same
problematic extractive industries and such incidences are simply adding insult to the omnipresent injury.
In the mean time, (though we must state how skeptical we are judging from the way the MMD government has meekly reacted to
such issues)we challenge government [through the ECZ Act] to use this incident as a resounding warning to corporations that
abrogation of our Environmental laws will not be tolerated. KCM (as we have also stated before) must also act as a responsible
corporate citizen by taking measures to prevent these incidents from happening. We remain anticipating a strong worded
condemnation of KCM from ECZ and government, coupled with equally appropriate action.